PRCC band director steps down after social media post

Published 7:00 am Thursday, June 4, 2020

Pearl River County Community College’s band director resigned Tuesday after receiving backlash due to comments he made on a public social media post. The band director, Reuben McDowell, made the controversial comments on a Facebook post regarding a protest in San Diego, which was bringing attention to George Floyd’s death.

A screenshot of the comments McDowell made on the public Facebook post shows he wrote, “start shootin a few and the rest will scatter.”

Dr. Adam Breerwood, president at PRCC, addressed McDowell’s comments through a post on PRCC’s Facebook.

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“There are no words to effectively communicate the sincerity of this message,” Breerwood wrote. “I am saddened today. I am distraught and disappointed.”

Breerwood wrote that he received hundreds of messages regarding McDowell’s comments and that McDowell is no longer employed at the college.

“PRCC does not tolerate the promotion of violence, hate or racism,” Breerwood wrote.

Breerwood said in the statement that McDowell’s comments are not a reflection of the college’s values and beliefs.

“On behalf of Pearl River Community College, please accept my sincere apology for the comments made by this former employee,” Breerwood wrote. “Pearl River Community College remains committed to being part of the solution we all seek.”

Breerwood wrote that the nation is facing a great adversity.

“Our future generations are worth the challenge of change,” Breerwood wrote. “I believe our dedication is bigger than our excuses.”

Jimmy Richardson, president of the Pearl River County National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), said he is outraged about McDowell’s comments.

“I don’t agree with looting and setting fires, but I do agree with peaceful protests,” Richardson said. “That’s just something that should not be said, especially in the position [McDowell] is in.”

Richardson said comments like McDowell’s are not needed in Pearl River County.

“[These comments] don’t have a place in our society today,” Richardson said. “We are all human beings. We are all Americans. We all deserve respect.”

Richardson said he is thankful that the school stepped in and took the actions it did.